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South Jersey Soccer:
Barons Look To Repeat With 3-0 Loss To Stallions

Saturday, May 6, 2000

By Forrest Robleto
SJSports Staff Writer

The South Jersey Barons are looking to repeat the 1999 season as regular season Champions and National Championship Finalists. They started out the fine season last year with a 3-0 loss to the Stallions. This year started he same. Last year the Stallions won the first two meetings and the Barons won the last two. The last meeting gave the Barons the regular season championship, and due to a quirk in the playoff system, moved the Stallions to a third place spot in the Divisional playoffs (see Vol. 2 Number 50 in the archives). While this game did not count against regular season standings, it had greater significance than most as a qualifying game for the Open Cup Tournament "A" National Championship for all levels of professional soccer.


Saturday's game was played before an opening day crowd of 1024. The temperature was threatening a new high for the day but didn't quite make it. It was hot on the field and the Barons were wearing their new black uniforms. The teams started out fairly evenly with the Stallions carrying a small edge in field position. About 10 minutes into the game Henry Suarez went down complaining about having been kicked in the side. Although he was obviously in pain it was not obvious to the official that he had been hurt deliberately and no card was issued. A few minutes later Rob Mikulski did get a yellow card. The game's intensity picked up. Paul Royal made three good saves back to back including one where he snatched the ball out of the sky after it bounced off several hands. Matt Brooks got hurt somehow and was attempting to get to the sideline when the Stallions brought the ball down and Jason Cairns passed the ball up to Julio Cesar who managed to put the ball behind Paul Royal. The Barons turned up the intensity for a few minutes with defender Mark Southern making a few spectacular plays, but the game soon got back to its hot Saturday afternoon pace. James Harvey got a yellow card apparently on the weight of a complaint by keeper Engelhardt. The Barons got the ball in close a few times but only tested Engelhardt a few times. The Barons missed the offense of forward Matt Miles who is recovering from a knee injury.

At the 67-minute mark Javier Valasco put one in from about twenty-five yards out. The Barons responded with an intensity that would have won the game had it come earlier. At one point the Barons put together a volley of shots from Mark Southern and Micheal Payne that were Engelhardt's toughest tests of the game, but the Barons couldn't get one home. With less than a minute to go in the game, the Stallions Henry Juarez scored from just inside the 18 unassisted to close the scoring 3-0. The Stallions outshot the Barons 11-9 on the night giving Keith Engelhardt six saves and the Baron's Paul Royal seven.

The ever fan friendly Barons had a half time shootout with young fans from the stands with 4 tickets to a future game as the prize. The Barons meet the Reading Rage next Saturday in Reading and then again at Edgewood High School the following Saturday.

Photos by Forrest Robleto

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